How to make the perfect tomato soup and the common mistakes to avoid

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Yes, you can make tomato soup with fresh tomatoes, and they will be delicious, but most recipes ask for you to roast them first to concentrate their flavour. If you are short on time, use best-quality tinned tomatoes. Always buy whole or look for tins of sieved tomatoes from an Italian brand. 

Season more than you think

Tomatoes suck up a lot of seasoning, and they need it. So be generous with the salt and pepper. Extra virgin olive oil is always welcome when using tomatoes too, so a drizzle will certainly add to the flavour. 

Tomato and coconut soup.

Tomato and coconut soup.

Sweets for our sweet

Tomatoes like sweetness, particularly if you are using tinned tomatoes. To neutralise the sometimes acidic nature of tinned tomatoes add a generous pinch of sugar. Taste, and add little by little until it is neutralised. 

Cook gently

This soup is made relatively quickly, so cook over a gentle heat to avoid burning any of the aromatics involved. 

Tomato and cannellini bean soup.

Tomato and cannellini bean soup.

Add something creamy

Darina, in her recipe below favours the addition of béchamel sauce, which makes sense because milk will curdle if added directly to a tomato soup. Some people prefer to stir in some cream at the end of cooking, or even a teaspoon of mascarpone cheese. 

Serve with something cheesy

Toast spread with pesto and topped with Mozzarella, garlic and cheese toasted sandwich or a good old toasted cheese sandwich are all excellent accompaniments to a bowl of tomato soup. 

Creamy tomato soup

recipe by:Darina Allen

Deliciously easy, this soup can be made with good quality tinned tomatoes

Creamy tomato soup

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

20 mins

Total Time

30 mins

Course

Side

Ingredients

  • For the béchamel sauce:

  • 110 g butter

  • 110 g flour

  • 1 pint milk

  • Few slices of carrot

  • Few slices of onion

  • 3 peppercorns

  • Small sprig of thyme

  • Small sprig of parsley

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 750 ml homemade tomato purée
    or 2 x  tins of tomatoes, liquidized and sieved

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 15 g butter

  • 250 ml homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock

  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

  • Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

  • 120 ml cream

Method

  1. Melt the butter and cook the flour in it for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Use as required. Roux can be stored in a cool place and used as required or it can be made up on the spot if preferred. It will keep at least a fortnight in a refrigerator. 

  2. Put the cold milk into a saucepan with the carrot, onion, peppercorns, thyme and parsley. Bring to the boil, simmer for 4-5 minutes, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain out the vegetables, bring the milk back to the boil and thicken to a light coating consistency by whisking in 45g of roux. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, taste and correct seasoning if necessary.

  3. Sweat the onion in the butter on a gentle heat until soft but not coloured. Add the tomato purée (or chopped tinned tomatoes plus juice), Béchamel sauce and homemade chicken stock. Add the chopped basil, season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.

  4. Liquidize, taste and dilute further if necessary. Bring back to the boil, correct seasoning and serve with the addition of a little cream if necessary. Garnish with a tiny blob of whipped cream and some basil.

    Note: 
    Tinned tomatoes need a surprising amount of sugar to counteract the acidity.
    Fresh milk cannot be added to the soup – the acidity in the tomatoes will cause it to curdle
    This soup needs to be tasted carefully as the final result depends on the quality of the homemade purée, stock etc.